Archives

Ashlee Cowles, Follower of the Week

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Ashlee is a talented writer of Young Adult and historical fiction with two completed novels to her name. Do take some time away from your day to check out her blog to see what she has to say about her works and her journeys through the fascinating history of Europe.

Thanks, Ashlee, for following, and good luck with landing new literary representation!

 

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Andrew Toy, Follower of the Week

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Trust me. You have got to follow this guy’s blog. He is a published author and an editor, but the main focus of his blog isn’t even on the world of writing but on the process of adopting their (he and his wife) first child, whom they hope to name “James” one day. It’s filled with inspiration, optimism, and anticipation. I couldn’t be more grateful that Andrew and his wife decided to share a part of their lives with the world and remind us that we are all blessed in some way. 🙂 Thank you, Andrew and Sarabeth!

 

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New Topics Underway

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:: singing :: Wherrrrrrre have you beeeeen…all my li-i-i-i-fe?

Yes, yes, yes. I have been MIA for quite some months. But see…what had happened was…{insert some fantastical, convoluted story that even elves and unicorns wouldn’t believe}. Truly, I have been so wrapped up into work and family that I haven’t taken the time to invest in one of my other favorite loves—writing.

I need to keep this blog going, and not just with author interviews. Of course I love them more than I love cake…


(For those who don’t know, Rasputia is a character you’d never want to meet in real life.)

The interviews allow me to pay it forward and bring awareness to hidden talents within the writing community. Even if I don’t write another thing on this blog about myself, just giving back to another author gives this blog purpose.

However, this blog was created for me after all, so I’m going to give my followers and those on the fence (just go ahead and press the button; I don’t bite…all the time :)) more of that while still offering support to my fellow writers.

Now…on to the meat of this post. I would like to introduce…five consecutive days weekly of blog topics! :: does the hustle dance :: If you look to the right at the top of this page, you’ll see that I already have them mapped out, starting next Monday. I know, some of you are like…

…but really, let me explain.

SILENT SUNDAY
No description needed, I don’t think. In other words, there will be no blog posts on this day. Sad? Aw, don’t be. I’ll have enough material for you during the week to make up for it. Happy? Screw you. Don’t care? Eh, many won’t. You’ll be in honest company. BUT…I love you regardless. 🙂

MUSIC MONDAY
No, I don’t and can’t sing, and I don’t write lyrics. My talent lies strictly with writing fiction only. This is where I will share a song that I listen to when writing certain themes or scenes and how the song motivates me to keep writing. (Get ready for some weirdoisms.)

TITILLATING TUESDAY
Oh, pull your fingers out of the gutter and back onto the keyboard. (Just nasty minds in you people. I kinda like it.hehe) Instead of teasing your freaky bones, I’ll be teasing your curiosities with snippets of my works (past, present, and future).

WISH WEDNESDAY
I figured you all would need another way to learn more about me. So, I’ll share some of the things I wish for most, whether it’s work, publishing, family, or personal. It would be great to learn those things about you as well. Feel free to post your wishes as well in the comments. I don’t care if you wish to land an agent, travel to hell for the day, or be Peter Pan. I share, you share.  🙂

THINK THURSDAY
This will just serve as a day when I share my most random thoughts. Writers usually have to develop several (not just 2) personalities to write the most creative stories. You won’t believe the craziness we conjure up. (One day, I created a wrestler character who pirouettes while emptying trash bins for the Town of Bulls.)

FOLLOW FRIDAY
What better way to show appreciation to my followers than to recognize them? Every Friday, I will select a follower at random and post their name titanic style with starbursts, flashing signs, dollar bills and roaring tigers. (Okay, maybe just the starbursts and flashing signs.) Who knows, that follower may have a blog, own an online store, write scripts for a cable network show, or just need a few people to say “hi” to him/her.

SILENT SATURDAY
(See “Silent Sunday”. Yes, I really mean it.)

It is my plan to switch, replace, or reorder these every few months or quarter to give some variety, but mostly because I’m pretty sure I’ll run out of shit to say about the same topic every week. I’m looking forward to a fresh start w/ this baby!

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Interview with Author G.P.A. (Greatest Poet Alive)

Yes, you read the header right. His name is G.P.A., and his poetry earns a 4.0 for its spice and titillative flow. He has several books on the market, but his most recent publication, Revenge of the Orgasm, is the star of the interview and available in paperback and Kindle edition.

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Check out my interview with G.P.A. as he discusses Revenge of the Orgasm and his poetic works, one of which he refers to as “raw” (hubba hubba 🙂 ).

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Tell us more about you. Where are you from? When did you first get that desire—the calling—to write?

My name is G.P.A. (Greatest Poet Alive), the Phenomenal Poetic Unsub, and I hail from the South Side of Chicago. My desire to write came when God spoke to me telling me to write and saying I would be the greatest.

Revenge of the Orgasm—the title itself could make a reader eager to hit the “Buy” button. What inspired you to write about such a stimulating (pun intended) topic?

I wrote Revenge of the Orgasm because it is a detailed account of my adventures with beautiful women. Besides, the world, literary and otherwise, needed a “tell all” book that was spicy but also had a gentlemanly touch to it. (No names are disclosed of the women I had these adventures with.)

Revenge of the Orgasm is part of The Lust Series. Is this the first in that series? What other tantalizing topics do you plan to discuss in future book in the series?

Revenge of the Orgasm is the third book in the series right after The Book of 24 Orgasms and The Land of Multiples. The Orgasm Strikes Back is the next in the series, and it will be more intense than ROTO with a couple of short stories.

Can you give the readers a little tease of what they may find in the book? What about Revenge of the Orgasm should make them want to read it? 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0cifCTA-9g  Here you go. Everyone has had Revenge of the Orgasm. Whether it be some event with the person they are with or with or something from the past, and it can be intimate or sexual, but the memory pops up in the mind. And you cannot shake it.

Your name—Greatest Poet Alive—it may seem self-explanatory, but most pseudonyms are rarely just that. So, tell us. Is there a deeper story behind the name?

Greatest Poet Alive came to me years ago when I was performing at a wedding and left what I had written down, but I performed off the top of my head. I remember saying that I might be the Greatest Poet Alive. After that on my first book, I meant to place my government name along with the moniker, and the company left my real name off. It has been with me ever since.

I see that you’ve written four books thus far. Can you tell us a little about the other three?

The Confessional Heart of a Man is my first book that I wrote in thirty days in 2007. It is gritty, raw, and in your face. I was able to rid some baggage from me in that one. The Book of 24 Orgasms was a surprise hit because one, I do not enjoy erotic Poetry plus this was my first time writing that way, and two, it is a chapbook. But boy, did it spawn some memorable poems and great sales!! It was a sensual escapade. Next, what I believe is my ambitious book is The Mind of a Poetic Unsub. I say that because I put a lot of muscle and personal situations in into the book right when things were not going as well as I would’ve liked. There are many styles of poems there, as well as themes.

If you weren’t a writer, what could you picture yourself doing instead?

If were not a writer, I’d be teaching or coaching.

Are you working on any new projects that you would like to share with readers?

I am currently promoting Seductions Lips, a book by my partner, Kottyn Campbell, and at the end of the year, I will release GPApocalypse Forever, my second cd.

For those who may have questions or just want to follow your successes and progress, how can you be contacted?

The easiest place to join me is on Facebook at G.P.A. (Greatest Poet Alive). I post daily there.

Do you have any final words for your dedicated fans and prospective readers? Anything I may have missed that you feel the reading world should know about Greatest Poet Alive (GPA), the author?

Thank you Yvonne for interviewing me. It has been an honor. Let me leave everyone with this. Aspire to perfection. Clothed in excellence. Burdened with greatness. Mediocrity is a disease that does not exist in my reality. Fear only God. And nothing or no one can stop me. My name is G.P.A. #teamGPA

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You’re quite welcome, G.P.A. I’m sure that my readers will be as intrigued as I am about your poetry and written works. Congratulations on your continued success, and I look forward to hearing about the release of The Orgasm Strikes Back (catchy!).

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Interview with Author Alice Dee

Happy June, everybody! Summer is almost here, but the weather is screaming “Summer is here NOW!”, and this gal right here is stoked! Pool days, BBQs, less to no clothing…

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TMI? Okay…let’s move on then.

To start June off on a fresher and cleaner note ;), I got the chance to interview Author Alice Dee as she discussed her newly published novel, Dance for Me.

Dance for Me is available today on Amazon in Kindle format but will be available for FREE download on June 10 and June 11.

Dance for Me

Hi, Alice! So…tell us more about yourself. Where are you from? When did you first get that desire—the calling—to write?

I was born in Los Angeles and have lived in southern California all my life.

I realized writing was my future when I was nine years old. I think I was in the third grade and I remember crying over this three paragraph dictation I had to write ten times for not doing my homework. I thought I couldn’t stomach writing of any kind until we were given a writing assignment where we used symbols and words.  It was only supposed to be like one page but I couldn’t stop writing. I went on to write about seven pages. That’s how it all started.

What inspired you to write Dance for Me? Was any part of the story written from your own experiences?

I had two finished novels sitting on my hard drive while I was researching the industry. I wanted to move on from those two novels—published or not—for the time being and start the next project. I began by thinking of places I’ve been and Las Vegas came to mind. So I had a setting but no characters or even a story.  I was watching a UFC fight on TV one night and my MC Dominic just sort of manifested. My stories have a little somberness to them, and though my female MC was shaped for a completely different project, she brought that melancholy feel to the story. She was perfect for the novel.

The only experiences in the novel that are my own would be being in love and how it feels. The characters take what I know and do their own thing. I just let the story unravel and dramatize it while trying to keep it as real as possible.

Although you have written two other novels, Dance for Me is your first published one. Do you have any plans to publish the other two?

I’ll be releasing my first novel, Dark Liquid Blue, sometime this summer. My second novel will most likely be released this fall.

Dance for Me is Urban Contemporary fiction, but you have also written a children’s book. Will you continue to write children’s books or is your writing passion more so in the Adult category?

The children’s book was originally a school project for my little sister. I really liked how it turned out and it was a lot of fun to write. Now that I have small kids of my own, I definitely want to write more children’s books. I also plan to write at least one Y.A. novel. As I get older my material and characters seem to age with me so adult fiction will probably be my main genre.

What is your favorite part of the book? What was the hardest part for you to write?

My favorite part of the book is Night at the Flamingo. This is the chapter where all the MCs are thrown together for the first and last time in the book. The setting, situation and tension were perfect. It was really fun to write.

The part I had most trouble writing was a hookup scene with Hope and Shane. I couldn’t bring myself to write it. It’s strange, like Hope had strong feelings for Dominic and I couldn’t write in sharing that passion without another character. It just didn’t work. I had to do a lot of reevaluating and rewrites to get things to flow.

I noticed that you went the self-publishing route. Did you consider trade publishing at all or did you prefer the control of self-publishing? How has the process been for you thus far?

About a year and a half ago I snapped out of this haze I was living in and decided that I REALLY want to put my work out there. Slowly my dreams were being crushed when I realized I would most likely have to land an agent to link me to a publisher. It’s like you need a middle man to link you to another middle man to link you to readers. That was discouraging for me. I tried the query thing but deep down I felt like it was a gamble with odds not in my favor and like most, I have no time to waste. I’m not ruling out traditional publishing in the future, but for now, self-publishing is for me.

So far, self-publishing has been arduous but I’m really enjoying it. I like that I own all rights to my work and am in charge of everything down to cover art. The toughest part is no doubt self- promotion, but it is a lot of fun and therefore doesn’t seem like work. It also helps that I’m kind of an entrepreneur at heart.

If you weren’t a writer, what could you picture yourself doing instead?

I could see myself designing clothes and shoes or maybe owning a thrift store. That would be awesome.

Are you working on any new projects that you would like to share with readers?

Right now I’m preparing my first novel Dark Liquid Blue for publication, and hopefully by early 2014 or sooner I’ll be hard at work on novel number four.

For those who may have questions or just want to follow your successes and progress, how can you be contacted?

I can be contacted through any one of these sites:
www.alice.co.nr
http://www.writerscafe.org/AliceDee
http://alicedeenovelist.blogspot.com/

Do you have any final words for your dedicated fans and prospective readers? Anything I may have missed that you feel the reading world should know about Alice Dee, the author?

As an author I feel it’s my duty to take the reader out of his/her element and kind of catapult him/her to another world. For anyone who’s ever been in love but wasn’t loved back, who was loved but couldn’t love back, or anyone who likes an entertaining drama filled story… this is for you.

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Alice Dee is an independent novelist. She is the author of three novels, one children’s book and several short pieces. While the majority of her work is intended for an adult audience, her ultimate goal is to reach readers of all ages by infiltrating various genres with her psychedelic writing style. When Alice is not hard at work crafting quality fiction for her readers, she enjoys spending time with her family, blasting underground hip hop, having fun and sleeping. She currently resides on the West Coast. (Courtesy of Alice’s website)

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Alice, thank you for granting me such a detailed and honest interview. Congratulations, and I look forward to hearing about your upcoming releases! Good luck to you!

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Interview with Author Agustin D. Martinez

Please join me in welcoming first-time published author Agustin D. “Gus” Martinez to the TPTW lounge.

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Gus’s debut novel The Mares of Lenin Park was published by Hollywood Books International and won the Prize Americana for Prose 2012. It is available today in Kindle format and will be released in hard copy within the next few weeks.

The Mares of Lenin Park


Hi, Gus! Tell us more about you. Where are you from? When did you first get that desire—the calling—to write?

I was born in Panama after my family fled Cuba after the Revolution. They lived in New York for a short period, but they just couldn’t acclimate to the cold weather, so my father found work in Panama, where they lived for five years before finally moving to Miami. I went to Miami as a baby and grew up there. I was lucky to have grown up in a bilingual home where stories of Cuba, past and present, were common. Having family that still lives in Cuba gave me great insight into the challenges that post-revolution Cubans experience. I was an English major at Florida State University, after which I became an English teacher in Miami. After moving to the DC area, I became a translator for a short period before returning to school and returning to teach High School English and Creative Writing. I received my Master’s from Johns Hopkins University and began my career as a school administrator. I became a high school principal and now work as an educational administrator in suburban VA (just outside DC).

I guess I’ve always wanted to be a writer. My sister Maria used to buy me books when I was a kid. She bought me everything from Sidney Sheldon to V.C. Andrews to Stephen King. We would discuss those books, which we devoured as if they were potato chips, for hours. My family is a family of storytellers. No matter when or why we get together, tall tales are told! So I guess I was born into the tradition of oral storytelling.

This is probably why I started my writing career as a playwright. I just loved dialogue, and I loved seeing my characters come to life on stage. That was a magical experience for me. I went on to write short fiction which focused mainly on life in Miami, specifically the unique experiences of exiles. The Mares of Lenin Park is my first novel.

What inspired you to write The Mares of Lenin Park? Was any part of the story written from your own experiences?

Although the novel is fiction, I made sure to dedicate time and effort in portraying the realities of Cuba today. Told from the eyes of a 14-year-old boy named Uli, the novel incorporates many of the stories I heard from family, friends, and students who had just arrived to America, fantastic stories that oftentimes seemed unreal. I just knew I had to write all those details down, and the product was my novel.

The Mares of Lenin Park seems like a heavy, emotional, and serious novel. What was it like writing it and how long did it take?

There are certainly parts of the book that are emotional and very serious; however, because the narrator is a 14-year-old boy, I couldn’t help but include some humorous details as well. That’s the beauty of the novel. It depicts how Cubans today, no matter how much they struggle, still find time to laugh, still have time to celebrate. At times, it was difficult for me to write because I continued to interview my father and siblings, as well as my family who still lives in Cuba. The stories they shared with me were sometimes heartbreaking, but I knew in order to be honest with readers, I had to make sure to include these details. At other times, it was quite easy, especially when it came to Uli’s and his cousin’s mischievousness.

The novel took me several years to write. I went back to edit the novel several times, making sure the themes I intended to make up the novel were well structured. Developing characters takes a long time, but I think the book is the better for it. If I had any advice for a writer is to walk away from the book or story for several days, even several weeks before going back to the editing process.

What is your favorite part of the book? What was the hardest part for you to write?

My favorite part of the book is when Uli and his cousin, Nestor, visit the compulsory work camp known as “trabajo voluntario.” It’s ironic that the compulsory camp is known even today as “voluntary.” That part of the book shows boys just being boys, regardless of the politics and philosophies that ensnare their daily lives.

Without wanting to give too much away, the most difficult part for me to write was when Uli finds himself alone on a boat at night, the fog engulfing his small boat. I wanted to make sure that the themes of lonesomeness and death and illusion v. reality were well crafted and infused with the plot. Uli’s loneliness and confusion in this part of the book was painful because it reminded me of all the stories my students told me about when they lunged out to sea just for the small chance that they’d make it to Florida, some of their families not even making it across safely.

How long did it take you to get published? What was the experience like for you?

That was an arduous process. I wrote literary agents and small publishing houses for over a year. Luckily, after winning Prize Americana for Prose in 2012, Hollywood Books International offered me a contract. I thought I would need an agent to get my book published, but the publisher worked directly with me. After signing the contract, the editing process between my publisher and me took about eight months. That was a rigorous and worthy experience. My editor pushed me to really take a look at the story I was trying to tell and made sure we had the best book possible before it went to print.

If you weren’t a writer, what could you picture yourself doing instead?

If I wasn’t a writer, I could see myself teaching again. I loved being a teacher, especially an English teacher. I was very passionate about teaching literature, and my students saw that. I can’t really see me doing anything else – other than being a world traveler! 🙂

Do you have any current projects that you want to share with readers?

I’m currently working on the sequel to Mares. The setting of the second novel takes place in Miami after Uli makes it across the Straits of Florida alone. This novel explores Uli adapting to a new life, to a new world. He struggles to fit in an American school yet, like so many immigrants, overcomes these challenges. Uli feels like an “in-betweener” in America, especially at school, but he learns to adapt as best he can and learns that he doesn’t have to give up that part of him that is still Cuban.

For those who may have questions or just want to follow your successes and progress, how can you be contacted?

Readers can contact me directly at gusmartinez67 (at) cox (dot) net.

Do you have any final words for your dedicated fans and prospective readers? Anything I may have missed that you feel the reading world should know about Agustin D. Martinez, the author?

I hope my fans love the characters, the themes, and the story itself. I think that no matter where the reader’s from, no matter what background he or she comes from, they will relate to the protagonist and to the challenges he faces. I would love to hear from fans, who can reach me at my personal email. The book is currently out on Amazon.com for Kindle and should be out in print later April/early May. Some readers have asked if they could have a signed copy of the book. I can give them details on how to receive one if they email me.

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Thank you, Gus, for allowing me to interview you. It’s always refreshing to see a writer make his/her debut with the talent and ambition to excel. I, as well as my blog followers I’m sure, appreciate you sharing your heritage within your works and giving us insight as to how you got published, something many writers strive for daily. Many wishes of success to you, Gus, and thank you again!

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